Players also mull moves for Tigers

Sources say Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel is potentially interested in a return to his ACC roots with the Clemson job now open after Oliver Purnell's departure for DePaul.

CLEMSON -- Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel might be a candidate to replace Oliver Purnell, Devin Booker might be leaving, Milton Jennings is staying, and Butler coach Brad Stevens says Clemson has not called -- yet.

They are among the storylines and candidates emerging a day after Purnell's stunning departure from Clemson's basketball post.

Stevens figures to be one of the most sought after coaching commodities this spring, having led Butler to the national title game. Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips indicated Tuesday he might give Stevens a call.

"I have not heard from Clemson," Stevens told The Post and Courier in an e-mail Wednesday.

Stevens would be a high- profile hire, as would Capel.

Sources told The Post and Courier that Capel is a candidate, potentially interested in returning to his ACC roots. Capel, a North Carolina native, played at Duke and coached at Virginia Commonwealth prior to leaving for Oklahoma in 2006.

Capel led the Sooners to the Elite Eight in 2009, but Oklahoma is coming off a losing season (13-18, 4-12 Big 12) and will have a depleted roster next season. Moreover, the Oklahoma athletic department has opened an investigation after center Tiny Gallon reportedly received money from a Florida financial advisor.

If Phillips follows his recent trend of hiring young, inexpensive, energetic coaches with Clemson ties, VCU coach Shaka Smart could be a candidate.

Phillips declined to speculate on the maximum compensation Clemson could have paid Purnell, who made $1.3 million annually. But Clemson might be conservative in regard to coaching compensation after the athletic department operated at $1 million loss last fiscal year.

Smart is a former Clemson assistant under Purnell, and is known for his energy and recruiting ability. He is reportedly on Clemson's short list.

VCU athletic director Norwood Teague told The Post and Courier he hasn't been contacted.

Other candidates mentioned in the media include Western Kentucky coach Ken McDonald and Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall.

Sources told The Post and Courier Baylor coach Scott Drew is also being considered as a candidate.

Phillips declined to comment on his short list Wednesday, but did indicate the process of reaching out to candidates has begun.

"At this point it is not appropriate to comment on specifics of a 'list,' " Phillips said in an email.

The next Clemson coach will enjoy the services of former Pinewood Prep star Milton Jennings.

Rufus McDonald, the mentor and former summer coach of Jennings, said Jennings is committed to remaining at Clemson. The two spoke Tuesday morning after learning of Purnell's departure.

Jennings, a freshman, was the school's first McDonald's All-American signee since 1991 and was joined in a heralded class by Noel Johnson, Donte Hill and Devin Booker.

Booker might not be returning.

Booker's mother, Tracey Booker, said Wednesday her son is considering transferring, and through a third party, has received interested from three other Division I-A schools, including programs in the SEC and Big 12.

"We're waiting to see who the next coach is going to be," Tracey Booker said.

The decision to weigh a transfer isn't due to Purnell's departure.

Tracey Booker said Devin would likely have transferred had Purnell stayed. Frustration with playing time is one of Booker's grievances with the former Clemson coach.

Reach Travis Sawchik at tsawchik@postandcourier.com.

cwReach Travis Sawchik at >tsawchik@postandcourier.com and check out his Clemson blog at www.postandcourier.com/blogs/tiger_tracks